Clarence Martin, his traditional Nisga’a Belx Sim Sgii, has rounded out the Prince Rupert Indigenous Justice Centre (PRIJC) as the new community outreach coordinator, enabling the organization to be fully staffed after moving to a new location in the summer of 2021.
Taking over the role from Rudy Kelly on Jan. 31, Martin aims to improve the reach of the centre across the North Coast. Previously a court worker in the 1970s, Martin helped to “demystify” the legal system for indigenous clients. He hopes to use his experience to better serve Indigenous communities on the North Coast.
The first step to accomplishing this goal is gathering as much information from across the region as possible. For the first time, the PRIJC will have a booth at the All Native Basketball Tournament to introduce themselves to the broader community and collect information through a survey.
Martin, previously chairman of the tournament for many years, knows how far-reaching the event is in the region. He hopes to maximize the exposure it can bring to the people who can benefit from the centre’s services.
The team wants to learn how much North Coast communities know about their services, who and where those people are in the region and collect the information they still may be lacking to better serve the area.
With more complete information on the area, they will be able to better serve and address the issues of the region, Martin said. In the future, Martin’s role will be to visit Port Hardy, Haida Gwaii and other coastal communities. He said he wants communities to become stronger.
The centre’s team also consists of a Gladue worker, Gladue report writer, two legal assistants and a lawyer.
A Gladue worker and writer create a report detailing the unique life circumstances of an Indigenous person charged with a criminal offence who is applying for bail and is being sentenced. The Gladue report will link the life story of an Indigenous offender to the broader issues facing Indigenous people. It will provide detailed recommendations for the judge to consider in terms of sentencing.
The PRIJC offers culturally-safe free legal services to indigenous people in Prince Rupert and North Coast. They provide legal advice and representation for child protection matters, criminal charges and other legal issues.
Norman Galimski | Journalist
Send Norman email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter